19 October 2011 — Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
This week in Black Agenda Report
Occupy Wall Street: What You Can Demand versus What You Must DO
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Occupy Wall Street activists are under some pressures to come up with demands to make of the powerful. However, “in many cases, there is no point in demanding anything from your enemy, except that he drop dead in a hurry.” If Wall Street is an unadulterated evil as many OWS folks claim – and they are right – then what is to be demanded of the banksters and their friends? That they commit suicide, forthwith? And how do you reform a cancer away? “Well before 1999, Wall Street power had passed the point where it could be controlled by conventional regulation.”
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Barack Obama has become the Great Interventionist, eclipsing George Bush, who only wished he were good at it. Not satisfied to have outdone half of the previous presidential tag-team, Obama takes on Dick Cheney for the title of Great Prevaricator (specializing in tall tales that start big wars). It’s a deadly game. “By claiming that a foreign government was involved in contracting with Mexican drug dealers to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, the administration has made a clear case for war against the Iranian government.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball
Dr. Martin Luther King was made to suffer the indignity of being drafted into a corporate president’s campaign and corporate sponsors’ image-making. At the memorial ceremony in Washington, “it was clear Obama’s re-election bid was to be a primary function of the spectacle.” The edifice itself is stripped of any quotes that the race-neutral might find discomforting. “The words ‘Black’ and ‘racism’ make zero appearances at a memorial dedicated to a man who spoke of the essentialness of Black pride and an end to White supremacist notions of race.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
After two years of existence, the Black Is Back Coalition is witnessing – and has been part of – what is beginning to look like a watershed moment in the U.S. and the world. “For the first time in four decades the word ‘revolution’ is heard outside the context of the newest consumer product.” Yet, many Blacks wonder about the actual inclusiveness of the revolt of the 99 percent. “In the United States, especially, homogenization always tends, in practice, to result in a whitening of the process.” A progressive movement requires the exertion of strong Black leadership. That’s the challenge for the Black Is Black Coalition at its November 5 national conference – and for the entire Black polity.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Africa, under President Obama, is an expanding theater of war for the United States. There are few points on the African map where the U.S. military does not operate, independently, through proxies, or by agreement with local governments and militaries. AFRICOM has penetrated the armed forces of the continent to a degree no single European power could have ever aspired. Indeed, “the U.S. has so thoroughly infiltrated African armies, many, if not most, would be of no use for national defense against the Americans.”
by jay janson
Dr. Martin Luther King’s voice has been sanitized for public consumption, so as not to threaten or discomfort the very class that has made the United Stats “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” in every decade since his death. “King had bravely exposed the domination of society by powerful investors mercilessly speculating on the resources of the entire planet, using war as a tool to maintain investments.”
by Mike Pirsch
White Americans seldom see fascism in their behavior and political decisions, but that’s largely because they also don’t recognize racism, in themselves and fellow whites. The American brand of fascism is “fertilized” by racism, an evil ideology that is embedded in the national mythology. Americans are taught they are a nation of immigrants. “What is not mentioned is the genocide committed by the immigrants.” Black is the color of criminality, just as it was the color of slavery. “Criminal justice is as much a strategy of political neutralization as it is a channel of instinctive racism.”
by Courtney Frantz
The foreigners that rule Haiti, principally the United States, have attempted to reduce the country to the legal status of child-nation, with no rights that others need respect. These “children” require harsh discipline, which is where the armed UN force MINUSTAH comes in. “An in-depth overview of MINUSTAH’s history on the island depicts a security force systematically serving foreign interests over those of the Haitians.” The foreign soldiers have suppressed social movements and electoral democracy. However, “the country’s highly organized grassroots movement has never given up the battle its enslaved ancestors began.”
by the Black Is Back National Steering Committee
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds its annual conference in Philadelphia, November 5. The task is to help shape history.
Capitalism in Deep Crisis
“I think a lot of the major players and thinkers at the top of the capitalist economic order have concluded that this is a crisis of such depth and consequence that it might lead to the end of capitalism, itself,” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Philadelphia’s Temple University. “There is a certain resignation, that finance capitalism has gotten out of control. They don’t know where the crisis will break out next.”
Delayed Reaction to Meltdown of 2008
The Occupy Wall Street movement is a delayed response to the 2008 financial meltdown, said Ashley Smith, of the United National Anti-War Coalition. “It took a couple of years, but now the winds of resistance to the consequences of this crisis are blowing across the world,” said Smith. “I think we” in the U.S. “have been slow to respond because a lot of people looked to the Obama administration to address the crisis. Finally, people began to say, enough is enough, to take matters into our own hands. The movement of 99% against the 1% has become a lightning rod for all the different social movements.”
Don’t Be Afraid of Revolution
“This is a revolt, and when enough of us engage in that revolt, we’ll have a revolution,” said Dennis Trainor, an organizer with the October2011 occupation of Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza. “Representative democracy hasn’t worked in this country for a long time,” said Trainor. “The demands that we’re formulating in Freedom Plaza aren’t directed at those people, because those people failed us. Don’t be afraid of the word revolution. If enough of us don’t participate in the systems that oppress us, then those systems will come down.”
Newark Protest Marathon and OWS
Daily demonstrations by the People’s Organization for Progress in Newark, New Jersey, share commonalities with the Occupy Wall Street movement, said P.O.P. organizer Larry Adams. Both are “responding to the impact of the decline of imperialism and its rapid efforts to put the burden on the masses.” At the top of P.O.P.’s demands is “a national jobs program, not government sponsorship of corporations in hope they’ll hire, but direct employment by the government of the unemployed,” said Adams. P.O.P. is prepared for a 381-day-long protest, the duration of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott.
Black Is Back Annual Conference in Philly
Under the banner “Stop the Wars and Build a Resistance,” the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds its yearly conference in Philadelphia, November 5. “We think Philadelphia is prototypical of the kind of problems that really function as warfare against the Black population in the United States,” said Black is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. “Obama is interpreting the Occupy Wall Street movement as something that is in opposition to Republicans, as if this is not the same Wall Street that gave him more money than any other candidate” in the 2008 race. In Philadelphia “we have the local version” of Obama, Black mayor Michael Nutter.
Colombia Trade Pact Displaces Blacks
Passage of the Colombia Free Trade pact “will have a devastating impact on Afro-Colombians, and contribute to the displacement of millions that has already taken place,” said Saladin Muhammad, of Black Workers for Justice. President Obama has been “just as aggressive as all the other presidents in this imperial country” in pressing for so-called free trade agreements that harm both U.S. and foreign workers, he said.
“White Paper” Blasts MINUSTAH in Haiti
In seven years of deployment, the United Nations occupying force in Haiti has perpetrated “numerous human rights violations ranging from sexual abuse and exploitation to violent attacks on people’s protests…murder, and introduction of cholera into the country,” said Deepa Pachang, co-author of a Harvard students’ “White Paper.” The UN force, known by the acronym MINUSTAH, has been “ineffective” in protecting the 600,000 thousand displaced persons living in camps, said Pachang. Grassroots Haitian groups are demanding reparations for 6,000-plus cholera deaths and the half a million that have been made sick by the disease, introduced into the country by Nepalese soldiers with MINUSTAH.
Fight for Mumia Innocence
Attorneys for Mumia Abu Jamal continue to seek ways to make a legal claim for his innocence, said Christina Swarms, of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a previous sentence of death in the case. “Life in prison without the possibility of parole is a death sentence,” said Mumia supporter Pam Africa. “We are not winning. We have to step it up,” she said, recalling that death penalty opponents withdrew in droves from the Abu Jamal support movement after the death penalty was first lifted, in 2001.
Grades Changed to Prevent Black Valedictorian
In an Old South spin on grade cheating scandals, the Sumter County NAACP has file a complaint with the Southwest Georgia District Attorney, demanding that teachers who altered high school student grades to keep a Black girl from becoming valedictorian, be prosecuted under the same laws as are applied to teachers that upgraded high stakes standardized test scores, elsewhere. In addition, local NAACP president Matt Wright says the Sumter County teachers “should not be allowed to teach in any school system in the United States.” The conspiracy against potential Black valedictorians goes back at least eight years, says Wright.